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DAREarts' Triumph Over Tragedy: Guts Not Guns

ETOBICOKE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Mar 8, 2013) -

Editors note: There are two photos associated with this press release.

Last night (March 7, 2013) at North Albion Collegiate Institute (NACI) in Northwest Etobicoke, 150 DAREarts children from 17 local elementary schools sent a shout out for "guts not guns".

The evening started with a moment of silence for recent shooting victim, 15 year old Jarvis Montaque. His sister Carllana was in the wings waiting to go on stage. She was able to make it to the DAREarts Children''s Winter Promenade Showcase after all when her airline plans to attend her brother''s burial in Jamaica were changed.

The audience of almost four hundred people cheered, took videos, applauded and laughed as their children danced, sang and spoke about their aspirations. This was the culmination of three months of these kids daring themselves to find their leadership in themselves. Then they returned to their respective schools to teach their peers what they learned.

"Tonight is a night of accomplishment," Marilyn Field, Founder of DAREarts said in opening speeches. "It''s so important for us to have programs like DAREarts so that kids like Jarvis don''t have to die... We have 150 kids here tonight who are leaders who are making decisions in their lives for positive change and they''re going to be leaders of this community in the next few years as teens and then as adults. Because they are DAREarts, because they think of themselves as excellent, you can be sure there is no room in that picture for guns, no room in that picture for gangs. There IS a bright future for this community and it''s right here in this room with these 150 delegates." The audience responded with a round of heart-felt applause.

"Guts not Guns" is quickly becoming a rallying cry, echoed by City Hall and Mayor Rob Ford in a letter of support presented by Councillor Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1 - Etobicoke North). He was visibly moved by the community''s show of support. "I think tonight''s a very special night. Nothing is more important than what you parents are doing tonight. Supporting your children and getting involved in an arts program that really teaches them a lot more than what they''re learning in the arts, but teaches them about respect and self-discipline is really very important. We have a wonderful community. It''s up to us to keep this community safe and to look after our children and keep them on the right track."

During the busy day''s preparations, dozens of teenagers from the host high school of North Albion Collegiate Institute plus DAREarts graduates from local high schools, arrived to volunteer. They included students from nearby Thistletown Collegiate Institute after their school''s lock-down was released. They were on hand to help backstage as mentors for the younger children and then clean up after the show. They rose to the occasion and distinguished themselves as youth leaders.

Overnight, a parent wrote to DAREarts to show his appreciation for last night: "Even the language used at the performance was something that I noticed. ''Delegates'': we only use language like that when Obama comes to town. But you are all RIGHT; we can change the future of these kids by what we show them, the language, our support we can give them and the encouragement, all in on makes a BIG difference. Thank you VERY VERY much."

DAREarts is a Canadian not-for-profit organization, which stands for "Discipline, Action, Respect, Responsibility and Excellence in Education." DAREarts'' 5-year program works with 9-14 year olds from schools in high-priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to become leaders. Visit www.darearts.com for more information about DAREarts. Visit http://www.darearts.wordpress.com for up-to-date sharing of their experiences.

DAREarts thanks its lead supporters: Northbridge Insurance, Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Trillium Foundation.

To view the first photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20130308-9843lrg.jpg.

To view the second photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20130308-9970lrg.jpg.